NY Times

Executive Who Oversaw Paramount Pictures When It Made ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Chinatown,’ and ‘Happy Days’ for TV, Frank Yablans, Dies at 79. He Also Co-Wrote the Notorious ‘Mommie Dearest’

Dec 1, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Frank Yablans, 79, who was president of Paramount Pictures when it released some of the best movies of the past 50 years, has died.

“His son Edward, who confirmed the death, said that Mr. Yablans had been in declining health but that he did not know the precise cause,” wrote Michael Cieply in The New York Times on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.

Cieply wrote: “At Paramount, then owned by Gulf & Western Industries, Mr. Yablans made his mark with the selling of ‘Love Story,’ an immense hit released in December 1970. The next year he became president of the studio, where he stood between an equally tough-minded Gulf & Western chief executive, Charles G. Bluhdorn, and a president of production, Robert Evans, who was known for his deep Hollywood connections.

“That alignment yielded some of the era’s most acclaimed films, among them the first two installments of Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Godfather’ trilogy, [‘Chinatown,’ written by Robert Towne and directed by Roman Polanski], Sidney Lumet’s ‘Serpico’ and Peter Bogdanovich’s ‘Paper Moon.’ But there were also disappointments — among them ‘The Parallax View’ — and Mr. Yablans was out at Paramount by 1975.”

Some of the other films released by Paramount when Yablans was president include “Play It Again, Sam,” “Save the Tiger,” “A Touch of Class,” “Lady Sings the Blues,” “Super Fly T.N.T.,” “Bang the Drum Slowly,” “Don’t Look Now,” “The Longest Yard,” “The Gambler” and “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.”

Most notable on the TV side was “Happy Days.”

The New York Times adds that Yablans “later was both a producer and a writer of ‘Mommie Dearest’ and ‘North Dallas Forty.’ ” The former became a classic of camp, starring Faye Dunaway as actress Joan Crawford.

frank-yablansFrank Yablans


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